Yesha Callahan

Open Thread: Do You Ever Feel Tired Of Being Black?

black woman

Somewhere in the past twelve months of Black folks being associated with “the whip (and the Nae Nae),” “Trap Queens,” Empire’s negative stereotyping,Drake’s attempts at cha cha dancing, Ben Carson’s Presidential run, likely tons of other things I’m forgetting and all of us just singing back at Kendrick Lamar that “we gon be alright,” instead of turning up with wholesale social change attached, I think I reached peak Black frustration. Being black in 2015 feels incredibly stupid, frightening, potentially murderous and largely irrelevant to anything of consequence happening in rapidly advancing modern life, and I think I’m done with it.

That’s how Marcus K. Dowling began his piece, “I Don’t Wanna Be Black No More,” on thsppl.com on New Year’s Eve. For everyone looking forward to getting a fresh start in the new year when it came to finances, fitness, love, and careers, black people knew the sad truth about our racial identity, which pretty much consumes all we do: we’d be in a different year, dealing with the same sh-t, and sometimes that sh-t gets tiring.

It’s not that we’d ever want to be another race (well some do, but that’s for an entirely different discussion altogether), it’s just that some days we’d like to return to our corporate jobs on Monday with a set of box braids and not have to answer the question, “oh my god, what’d you do to your hair?!” Or not have to check a white person saying n-gga in a song lyric within ear’s length and then further explain why the rapper can say it and they can’t. Or have to stomach the nerve of a mainstream publication who thinks cultural appropriation is OK allowing a woman to write about #BlackGirlMagic being problematic. Two weeks into 2016 a lot of us are already tired. Maybe not done with being black like Dowling, but tired — defeated even — and struggling to find an answer to that frustration that doesn’t resolve to joining the new black brigade of African Americans so overwhelmed by what’s happening in society they’ve tapped out all together and convinced themselves we’re actually the race problem.

Dowling continued in his piece:

[A]s long as Ta-Nehisi Coates tells me that my Black body will be“destroyed,” being Black in the present day feels like a gift with the worst of curses attached. The idea of being unfathomably successful but also just as easily murder-worthy by those meant to protect and serve me is downright frightening. It’s like, society tells me “here’s money, fame and ‘power,’ but here’s a giant target that we’re going to actually place on your body!” If I can have fame and success, great. But if breathing another day involves me having to trade in my Blackness for the ability to lose what feels like a literal target attached to my body? Well, I’m now at a place where I’m all for making said trade.

Even worse regarding my relationship to my Blackness is the idea that I’m supposed to be angry about the war that’s developing in France, spurred on by largely brown-skinned Muslims retaliating against greater French society. I’m not angry about this for the reasons that I’m supposed to be angry about this, though. Yes, loss of human life is terrible. But when it’s the result of bigotry, “palpabale fear” and right-wing anti-brown person aggression, it’s like, so, that dream of being like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin and heading to Paris to be a happy and rejuvenated Black person isn’t going to happen either…sh-t.

I’m not going to be one of those annoying Black people that decides to be conflicted about my race and suddenly appear to be some race traitor thatdenies his Black heritage. I’m not going to be Tiger Woods and invent being “Cablinasian,” either. I’m also deciding against the idea I posited a year ago that I want to be a White woman. I’ve seen Caitlyn Jenner try, and outside of getting to wear fabulous couture, it looks really hard. Basically, I’m just not going to be actively Black.

There’s a whole universe out there that’s advancing into a future that doesn’t have many Black people in it because Black people are too busy celebrating an already antiquated level of success. As well, Kendrick might tell us that this notion of death creeping into our still largely all-Black ghettos is okay because “we gon be alright,” but when gentrification policies and the police department exist to ensure that’s not the case, I get worried.

In fact, I get so worried that my only recourse is to publicly state that “I don’t wanna be Black no more.”

Can you relate?

 

  1. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    No. I am tired of whiteness and all the ‘isms’: racism, sexism, etc.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @eLLe D.

      Exactly. I LOVE being black. We don’t have the problem. OTHERS have a problem that they try to project ONTO us.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @eLLe D.

      Amen Sister.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @eLLe D.

      I can’t lie..As a teen I did feel bittersweet about being Black, but THANK GOD for the internet and the Wonderful brothas & sistas that put tons of positive videos and pix out there!
      B4 the internet we only saw what was given to us and that was 90% white. So for the most part Black people were brainwashed into not wanting to look like God intended us to look so instead we conformed to the majority.
      But I am so thankful that we have EVOLVED and realized that we have to be the ones to showcase our OWN beauty for ourselves and our children to appreciate.

      • January 15, 2016 - Reply

        @BrownKitty289

        I am grateful for that as well and consider it God’s grace that you were able to overcome that brainwashing–so many people get lost along the way, but the way I see it- we don’t have a choice but to recognize our greatness and the potential within us– despite it all. I am so thankful that more and more of us are pushing back against the system.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @eLLe D.

      don’t forget classism & ageism (if they are such words, LOL), but spot on & ditto!

      • January 16, 2016 - Reply

        @BlackGlamour

        Definitely!

    • January 16, 2016 - Reply

      @eLLe D.

      Right on Sister.

  2. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    I just grow tired of being seen as bitter by fellow ignorant marshmallows, in denial POC’s and Uncle Toms and Tominas, You know what t? I will never be tired of being black, no matter how woke I’am. It is true though if your woke you cannot go back to being unwoke and everything becomes problematic and where do you draw the line. My family think I have turned militant because I never used to care about racism and was woefully one of those people who proclaim it is not so bad -_-. What matters now I see and now I have a voice to spread truth and try at least undo the fuckery I see and hear. Never grow tired, it is not a fight if we just breeze on by when it comes to fighting for our rights.

  3. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    I’m not tired of being Black, but I’m tired of discriminating ignorant people’s reaction to my being Black. Other than that, I wouldn’t trade Blackness for the world. With that said, I’d like to partake in some of the privileged held by others.

  4. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    No! I could never be tired of being black. I’m not as tired as our African ancestors who were shipped to the New World as cattle. I’m not as tired as our forefathers who fought and died for the right for us to have equal rights. They never had to question their blackness, they embraced it and fought hard for us to have what we have.

  5. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    This is a ridiculous notion. Black is not something you do. It’s something you are. Saying you’re tired of being black is like saying you’re tired of being human, or male/female, or whatever age you are, or whatever blood type you are. It takes absolutely no energy to be black, so what’s there to be tired of? Whether you’re smart or not, listen to rap or not, wear urban clothes or not, get targeted by the police or not, get approved for a loan or not, etc etc etc… you will still be black because it’s not something you do. It’s not something that happens to you. It’s just what you are. So if you allow yourself to get to a point where you are tired of being yourself, then I’d venture to say that you are internalizing someone’s bigotry against you. Your only alternative to being black is not existing at all because it’s not something you put on and take off on a whim. Either you are or you’re not black. If you’re tired of how you’re being treated, then just say that.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @Me

      Brilliant and accurate reply, I couldn’t articulate my thoughts about this and you summed it all up. Your comments make me think about how I am tired of racism only being discussed in the mainstream as if it occurs in a vacuum. As if there is no participation from racists who wake up every morning trying to figure out how they are going to make some Black person’s life either miserable or no longer existing–THAT is what also needs to be in the national conversation about racism. Otherwise is to infer that violent, racist whites are this vague entity that does not even need to be acknowledged, never mind held ever held accountable.

      • January 15, 2016 - Reply

        @vintage3000

        I think you hit it right on the head. Putting the focus on our blackness takes away the accountability of racism. It has nothing to do with who or what we are and everything to do with directing the conversation at the people trying their hardest to make us feel like our existence is unwarranted. When are THEY gonna get tired of everything they’re doing to us?

      • January 15, 2016 - Reply

        @vintage3000

        It is a shame that a cogent, comprehensive discussion (as shown in the mainstream level) about racism is taboo. If the bigots and the racists refuse to change, my advise is to keep it moving. Regardless of what the racists do, we desire structural changes whether the haters like it or not. You have made a great point about the characteristics about racists too. A lot of people view a racist as solely a backwater, rural type of person. Yet, racists exist among corporate heads and people from across socioeconomic backgrounds. Racism and sexism are intertwined as vicious racists are also vicious sexists. We desire discussions, accountability, and justice.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @Me

      Excellent response.

      Why would we be tired of being black since we are born black. We love being black. Some folks, who want to be tired of being black, are those who have just thrown in the towel and they desire to give up in my view. Racism is found systematically in society, so we have no other alternative but to fight it irrespective of our income, age, sex, our dress code, or nationality. I have noticed that many in the mainstream media won’t ask white people if they are tired of the N word, tried of white racism, and if they tired of being white.

  6. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    Never.

  7. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    I love being Black. I am never tired of being black. I love my black skin, my lips, my hair, and my strength as a black person. I am a descendant of scholars, other leaders, mathematicians, philosophers, and other real champions of liberty plus justice. My black people have shown the world that we can accomplish great things and we don’t back down. Centuries ago, black people led slave revolts to combat the Maafa and the slavery institution around multiple continents. People like Ella Baker and Robert F. Williams have shown the world that black people can organize and use self-defense if necessary to combat tyranny. No evil in this world will prevent me from standing up for true democratic values. We all believe in black liberation and only a traitor would want black people to be extinct. Only a traitor abhors Black Love (as Black Love deals with friendship and love among relatives too not just about romance, marriage, dating, or sex) and only a traitor hates black people in general collectively. So, we press on. I am tired of microaggressions that are common in the world. I’m tired of racism, sexism, and xenophobia. I’m tired of some people promoting the myth of white superiority (when the first humans on this Earth are black). I’m tired of seeing my Brothers and my Sisters being the victims of police brutality and murder. I love my Blackness and I thank the Creator for my Blackness wholeheartedly. I love my Blackness.

  8. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    I get tired of the idiocy of the dominant culture and white supremacist ass holes.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Preach Sister.

    • January 16, 2016 - Reply

      @Mary Burrell

      Exactly. Being Black is not a burden, its a blessing.

      • January 16, 2016 - Reply

        @i mean

        Exactly.

  9. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    I get tired of cultural appropriation and discrimination but actually tired of being black? No I could not say that.

  10. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    This is a silly question but I’ll participate anyway.
    Tired of being black? Hell no!

    But I AM tired of racism, class-ism, killer cops, lazy ass self-hating black men and women, genocide, young black men killing one another, black men abusing black women and children, violence, war mongering, bad news, GMOs, taxes, stupid stereotypes, junk TV, discrimination, oppression, corruption, lying politicians, thieves, black and white elites, heinous crimes and drunk drivers, just to name a few!!

    Marcus Dowling needs to do some soul searching.

    Damn, that felt good, word is bond!

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @Chazz A

      Brother Chazz, this pitiful brother’s commentary reminds me of the late and iconic rapper Tupac, who once said and I quote, “What you looking all sad for? Ni*n*ja* you BLACK, smile for me now.”

      • January 16, 2016 - Reply

        @eLLe D.

        Word, Elle D. I came up under the “Im Black and I’m proud” ideology of my parents. Good quote by Tupac!

        • January 17, 2016 - Reply

          @Chazz A

          Me too Chazz, that is what is largely missing today, parents and celebs who sported that pride and sang it loud!

          • January 17, 2016 - Reply

            @eLLe D.

            Exactly.

      • January 16, 2016 - Reply

        @eLLe D.

        Go head with ya good self then. 🙂

        • January 17, 2016 - Reply

          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

          What’s good Truthseeker? That song by Scarface and Tupac is a classic right?! Sadly still oh so very relevant today 🙁 Tupac wasn’t a perfect man (no one is) but one thing was for sure, he loved his Black people. That is what is sorely missing from today’s artists/celebs. These youngins today have no one to inspire them, to love being Black. It’s almost like if they don’t get it from home, where else are they going to get it these days? Not school that is for sure.

          • January 17, 2016 - Reply

            @eLLe D.

            Hello Sister.

            It’s snowing where I’m from. 🙂 I’m doing great today. It’s the first snow of the season. Yes, Scarface and Tupac made a relevant record about pain, hope, and carrying on with life. Tupac was the son of a Black Panther (Afeni Shakur, who was a Sister who stood up for freedom), so he knew about the truth. He knew about consciousness. He loved children and he expressed compassion in his life. His death was an evil tragic situation when evil, jealous people murdered him. I was 12 (during the beginning of my eighth grade year of middle year) when he was murdered. I remember it just like it was yesterday. This year represents 20 years after his passing. Many celebrities and artists today are afraid of going against the grain and speaking truth to power. Being Black is always great. More of the youth should be educated on the beauty and strength of Blackness. Schools today in many cases refuse to tell people about real black history.

            What’s good with you Sister. 🙂

            • January 17, 2016 - Reply

              @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

              I am doing good, about to brave the flakes. LOL. Indeed, we must be near each other because that snow thing is definitely doing its thing right now, I didn’t even know we were supposed to get it–past due no doubt but still ugh. I am grateful it is the weekend and it should be cleared out soon (unless it turns into a monstrous blizzard –shiver at the thought!). I was just thinking this year will mark 20 yrs since Pac left this earth. I often wonder what he would be saying about the rap game today. I can only imagine. But he was spirited and it is a shame that these new artists just don’t carry the torch–some do but the business side of music has corrupted the whole operation. Nevertheless, music can be a powerful tool in effecting and affecting emotion, I almost want to command the brother that wrote this to shut himself in a room with his headphones and some youtube, and DIG IN.

              • January 17, 2016 - Reply

                @eLLe D.

                I’m glad that you’re are doing great. The snow is coming down indeed. We probably do live in close proximity to each other. It’s not coming down very much, but it is coming down. I don’t think that it will be a blizzard. Hopefully, the snow won’t rise above 5 inches. Tupac was brutally honest and he would have very interesting words to say about the industry today. He didn’t bite his tongue for anyone. Corporate exploitation is common in the mainstream music industry unfortunately. Some artists fear reprisals. Yet, we stand up for real, progressive principals, because it is right. Music is a powerful tool. It can be used for good or evil. We want music to be used for good which can inspire people and promote excellence plus creativity. The person who wrote the article (about him feeling tired of being black) should read some Malcolm X, Bell Hooks, and the works. We love being black and we love pan-African power too.

                • January 17, 2016 - Reply

                  @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                  Yes, Yes, and more YES.

                  • January 17, 2016 - Reply

                    @eLLe D.

                    Thank you Sister. The snow stopped. It’s going to be colder tomorrow.

                    • January 17, 2016 - Reply

                      @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                      Yea it did. Here comes the cold blast. We are ready for it though 😉

                      • January 17, 2016 - Reply

                        @eLLe D.

                        LOL. Yes, we are ready for it. 😉 The Winter blast from last year was something else.

                        • January 17, 2016 - Reply

                          @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                          Gulp.

                          • January 18, 2016 - Reply

                            @eLLe D.

                            Goodnight Sister Elle D.

                            • January 18, 2016 - Reply

                              @truthseeker2436577@yahoo.com

                              Goodnight and rest well Brother Truthseeker.

    • January 16, 2016 - Reply

      @Chazz A

      Chazz, you done broke that sh*t down. Thank you!

      • January 16, 2016 - Reply

        @shybookworm

        You’re welcome Shybookworm, I just had a few things to get off my chest.

  11. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    Not really understanding the point she was trying to make.

    Sorry about our mediocrity as a race.

    • January 15, 2016 - Reply

      @jay@cha

      Speak for yourself.

  12. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    Nope!

  13. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    UN_ApoloGET_ically AFRIkan.

  14. January 15, 2016 - Reply

    I’m certainly not tired of being black – in fact I love it, but I am tired of the politics, bigotry, basically all the crap we deal with that I’d to do with our colour. This includes how we have internalised such negativity, so we have (mainly) BM berating BW, colourism, skin bleaching and ‘protective’ styles of ‘nappy’ hair.

    Others dog us and we as a group dog ourselves, and do so publicly.

    Money talks, we need to invest in black businesses, education and create a black £/$ that other groups by virtue of greed, will pay attention to.

    I keep saying it but it’s an absolute disgrace that in America, black people spend more money on hair products than property, on that basis we are fools to ourselves.

  15. January 16, 2016 - Reply

    I never get tired of being black. I love it. However, I do get tired of being black in America.

  16. January 18, 2016 - Reply

    I love being black. I am proud to be a black woman. But I am tired of living in a country, a world full of hatred, anti-blackness, racism, and prejudice. I’m just tired of how people act and what we do to each other.

  17. January 19, 2016 - Reply

    Teach.

  18. January 19, 2016 - Reply

    Lol, I am who I am. I parrot everyone else’s sentiments, Black is never a problem, prejudice is. I’m tired of having acne, college courses, my job, my pay, etc. Being Black? Nope.

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